Independent Member for Shepparton District Suzanna Sheed has invited the Victorian Treasurer to join her on a train journey on the Shepparton line in the lead up to this year’s state budget.
Ms Sheed called on Treasurer Tim Pallas to experience firsthand the sub-standard travel conditions her constituents face on a daily basis.
“Shepparton District needs a commitment from your Government in the next Victorian State Budget to provide the massive investment required to bring our line into the 21st Century,” Ms Sheed said in Parliament yesterday.
She said significant government investment in rail services and rolling stock for Bendigo, Ballarat, Geelong and the Latrobe Valley had contributed to an increase in V/Line patronage of almost 90 per cent in the past 10 years.
“Not so many years ago, Bendigo’s rail service was not dissimilar to that faced by Shepparton today. It now enjoys 20 trains a day with high levels of patronage and the results for Bendigo speak for themselves,” Ms Sheed said.
“We are only 19km further from Melbourne than Bendigo, yet there are light years of difference between the quality of our services.
“We know if you build it, they will come. Demand in Shepparton continues to grow and surely it is now our turn.”
Ms Sheed said although there had been more investment in rail in the Shepparton District electorate since her election to Parliament in 2014 than ever before, community expectations were not being met.
“It gave us great hope but here we are, almost 10 months later, with no visible work underway,” Ms Sheed said.
“Momentum is being lost and faith in this Government’s ability to deliver rail services to Shepparton District that are worthy of the community is waning.
“The time for Band-Aid fixes is over. We need an exponential leap which can only be achieved with a massive funding investment that will rectify decades of neglect and an extraordinary lack of advocacy from previous representatives of my community.”
Riahn Smith 0419 138 978│firstname.lastname@example.org